Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Isn't It Strange?

isn't it strange how we as humans assume so much? we do. we assume a ton. we assume our team is going to win the game. we assume the car is going to work when we turn the key (well most of us assume this). we assume we're not going to get fired from our jobs. we assume there is going to be food at the grocery store. we assume there is going to be fuel at the gas station. we assume our spouse is going to look out for us. we assume our government police forces are going to protect us. we assume our friends are going to contact us.

we assume lots of things. we assume the last two slices of bread in the pantry are ours. we assume the loose change on the table is for us to use. we assume we should be first picked for the football game. we assume our loan is going to be payed in full. we assume our gift is going to be reciprocated. we assume we have the right of way. our sense of entitlement is almost sickening.

isn't it strange how we as humans think? honestly, don't we think the world owes us something? if you do think that, its how you act. its true. our sense of entitlement has grown deeper and deeper and has begun to effect us at the most fundamental and serious level: the heart level. no doubt american consumerism is force feeding the issue. crap. its freakin insane.

this ridiculous sense of entitlement is forcing us as humans to be self centered and have our worlds be all about me, me, me. you can see this truth in many various ways. the question always is, "what can I get?" or, "what's in it for me?" or, "if I do this, what will you do for me?"

isn't strange how we'll only give up our time to community service if it looks good on our college application? isn't it strange that we'll only give to the needy if it is tax deductible? isn't it strange that we'll only give out of excess? isn't it strange that we will only give to God because some preacher tells us that God will give us 7 times what we've given him? where did all this come from?

hundreds and hundreds of years ago there was a man who traveled from one country to another. he was a bad bad man though. he didn't have a job and didn't want to work, but would go from street corner to street corner stealing food from clothes from everyone he could. the man was a bum. everyone knew it. if you wouldn't let this man steal your money he would beat you and leave you for death. it was well known that this man was a murderer. finally, the people got fed up and forced him out of town. this guy had a brilliant idea though. he thought, "i'll go north to the land with the great leader. everyone knows their king is gracious and always pardons his people."

when the man got there he continued down his destructive path. he was robbing food and stealing money from people. one night the man tried to steal from a baker. when the baker resisted, the man killed him on the spot. news spread across the land and this angered the king. so the king called the man to give him his punishment. the man pleaded, "king, everyone in this area knows how gracious and compassionate you are! you are a great king! you have mercy on your people. won't you pardon me?" the king replied, "where are you from?" the man answered, "I am from the south." the king replied, "you are not part of my kingdom. i cannot pardon you."

isn't it strange to think of a king pardoning a murderer who isn't even part of his kingdom? isn't it strange to think that this man would assume he would receive mercy? it is ludicrous to think that this man could waltz into a foreign land, commit a crime, and think he'd be dealt with lightly.

i am scared, terrified, that this attitude - this heart condition - has begun to affect us at our very core. we have preached and taught people to receive Christ so that they won't go to hell. we have promised Heaven to people if they will just believe. we have drawn close to God simply to receive some benefits.

what if there was no promise of Heaven? what if Christ asked us to follow him just to make the world better? what if Christ spoke nothing of what we received? would we follow? forgiveness is not the goal. our eternal safety is not the goal. it is a perk. it is a benefit. its a bonus. but it is only given to kingdom citizens. it is only when we fully align ourselves with Christ and his kingdom, that our benefits are bestowed upon us.

isn't it strange what we assume? isn't it strange what we think we are owed? we think funny things man. isn't it strange?


April@Crafty*Nesty*Thrifty said...

I appreciate your asking of some thought provoking questions...I believe we can all benefit from such ponderings. Take Care, April

Andy Myers said...

april. thanks for reading. take care.

joshua said...

but there is a promise of heaven! Christ did speak of what we receive when we follow Him! if Christ wanted us to follow Him without them, why would He speak about the benefits over and over.

i don't think the pursuit of pleasure is evil in itself... it becomes sin by its misplacement, not its existence. the pursuit of pleasure is the very thing that drives us to God and to be full participants in His kingdom expansion.

Andy Myers said...

josh. for sure, Christ often spoke of the benefits of following him. i have two problems with a lot of how traditional churches teach. 1) it is clear in the gospels that Christ did not come for the sole purpose of personal salvation. Christ came to set up and establish his kingdom. that was his prayer in fact. he wanted earth to resemble heaven. personal salvation has become the wonderful benefit of the kingdom. the issue i find is many christians become followers to receive salvation and neglect the expansion of the kingdom. and when Christ talks about earth being like heaven he's meaning just that: no poverty, crime, war, broken families, etc. but what you said is right, there is nothing wrong in desiring those benefits. but we have lost the full message of what Christ spoke of. that, for sure, is clear. 2) the second problem I have when we teach non believers that forgiveness is the first step. i'm not necessarily sure this is true. i'm looking at acts 26:18-20. jesus is speaking to saul and says, "i am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me." i see a very clear progression hear. i see an alignment with christ and the kingdom of light and then forgiveness is received. that was my point with the story of the king. so often we teach, "ask for forgiveness so you can be saved." to me christ says align yourself with me, join my kingdom, and forgiveness will be given.